OK, National Lampoon. Here's the deal. We know you've been struggling. Your name hasn't been attached to a watchable movie in nearly two decades, and you spent a good chunk of time since loaning your name out to any half-assed comedy who'd take it. Last year, you told us you weren't going to do that anymore. You said your newfound financial independence would allow you to get picky regarding new projects, and that from now on, you'd only be releasing movies worthy of the Lampoon brand we all used to love.
You said all that, then you release "Cattle Call." Oh, National Lampoon. Have you been drinking again?
The movie is a total stinker, an obnoxious turd of a T&A comedy that's just as horrid as "Dorm Daze" and "Pledge This!" and "Gold Diggers" and pretty much everything to feature the Lampoon name since, I dunno, the early 90s. Only this time, you can't hide behind the old "oh, I didn't know how bad it was, I was just licensing the brand" defense - the scenery is plastered with posters for other Lampoon flicks like "Blackball" and "Dorm Daze 2." You gave this movie the thumbs up while they were making it. Oh, National Lampoon. Are you in trouble? Do you need some money?
I just don't get it. Here's a movie so cheap, so downright amateurish that almost any respectable company wouldn't want to have anything to do with it. You, on the other hand, thought it would be a great addition to the Lampoon family, since it had a lot of nekkid boobies in it.
Perhaps you were in a coma, and someone else made the movie without your knowledge or approval. In that case, allow me to recap: Three greasy a-holes (Thomas Ian Nicholas, Andrew Katos, and an embarrassed-looking Diedrich Bader) realize the easiest way to score with babes in Hollywood is to set up a phony casting agency, pretend to be auditioning for an indie flick, then hope to sleep with everyone who comes looking for a job. The three jagoffs ultimately set their sights on three easy victims (Jenny Mollen, Nicole Eggert, and Chelsea Handler), but when the ladies start asking when filming starts, everything falls apart.
In one scene, a handful of extras dance around an empty room while someone plays bad music on an ancient Casio keyboard. This is supposed to be the big nightclub scene.
Later, Jonathan Winters shows up as a studio tour guide. The whole thing looks like it was filmed in a hurried afternoon, and Winters looks like he doesn't know where he is.
And the finale! (Spoiler alert - aw, who cares?) The whole thing ends in a courtroom scene as the boys are on trial for fraud. But Thomas Ian Nicholas has a plan! He hurriedly puts together a two-minute montage of audition footage, slaps some credits on it, and passes it off as a legitimate movie. Although to be honest, it is a better movie than "Cattle Call."
Meanwhile, characters are named "Sherman Oaks" and "Laurel Canyon," because that's how stupid it is.
Is this the sort of high quality project you promised you'd be making from now on, National Lampoon? Or did you make this movie during some week-long coke binge? Because with all these unfunny jokes, all this incompetent filmmaking, all the bad acting and the hideous production values and loathsome characters, surely you're not going back on your word by slapping your name on any low budget jigglefest that might make a quick buck on the direct-to-video market, right?
Oh, National Lampoon. You still suck.
Video & Audio
Considering the tiny budget and cheap look, "Cattle Call" looks passable in this anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer. Colors come through just fine and digital artifacts are rare. The soundtrack is equally serviceable-yet-unmemorable, presented in both Dolby 5.1 and 2.0; there's no real need for a surround mix, which is a bit flat. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are offered.
Just a collection of previews for other Lionsgate releases.
I'm not aware of anyone who thinks of the modern National Lampoon movies as anything but utter trash, and "Cattle Call" will do nothing to change that opinion. Skip It.